Psychiatric Evaluation

Mental illness and criminality are evaluated by different sorts of professionals doing very different things. Here are some of the points of distinction: Mental Health Evaluation In the State of Florida, all the five major classes of psychotherapist—Marriage and Family Therapist, Social Worker, Mental Health Counselor, Psychologist, and Psychiatrist—are required to know how to give “ordinary” mental health evaluations. Such an evaluation is used to create a diagnosis of the person coming in for treatment. The diagnosis, in turn, is used to bill insurance companies, or to determine if a person needs admission to a hospital. The diagnosis is selected from a book called The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders written by a large committee of the American Psychiatric Association. There have been several overhauls over the past half-century. Of interest, is the fact that in Europe, there are not so many categories as here, and of even greater interest is that there can be large disagreements among professionals in deciding the diagnosis. That lack of reliability notwithstanding, any time your therapist bills a third party, this diagnosis is required. Theoretically, the diagnosis should guide treatment much the same way as a medical diagnosis determines whether a person needs an antibiotic (for a bacterial infection) or not (for a viral infection). In actual practice, statistically, the diagnosis has very little bearing on the treatment of emotional issues. One reason, as I just said, is that different clinicians observing a person, reading the history in the file, asking good questions, and checking with family will still come up with a variety of different diagnoses; diagnosing is more an...
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